A/N: Thank you for your reviews! I'm very obsessed with them, so I always look for more! :-)

Sometimes I think it's easier to have a narrator, it helps me write faster! But then in some paragraphs I can't describe the characters' feelings deeply, because my narrator doesn't understand the other characters that well.

Yes, my narrator of this story is Ichiru, he is with Zero all the time, but nobody sees him or knows he's there. Since he's telling the story, he can only tell the scenes where his brother participates in, what he sees, what he thinks. He is very close to Zero and understands him most of the time, however, he isn't usually right. And he doesn't know Kaname at all, so what he talks about the pureblood is simply his own view, his own analysis, it takes time for him to get to know Kaname more and understand him correctly.

Here is the next chapter:

Chapter 3

"Young Master, you must enter the room and say your greetings properly." Yamada-san said with a stern voice. Her words reminded me of our childhood time, when she was teaching us about all the rules and manners. I still remembered how nervous we got every time she called our names. She would never be rude and her behaviors were usually respectful, yet she imposed her stringent requirements and forced us to follow them, stressing that they were our own family's rules which enforced by our own ancestor. Yes, our own heritage, but thanks to her, they were strictly preserved and complied with from our grandparents to our parents and his siblings, and now my brother and cousins.

"I would like to introduce Kaname to my parents. Can you ask if they agree to meet us?" Zero requested firmly, still not looking at her. Through his calm expression, I realised he had grown up, there was no more unsure fear as in our childhood, he no longer let anyone threaten him or force him to do something against his will.

Yamada-san stared at him for a while, finally she had to give in and went to ask for our parents' decision. A couple of minutes later, she returned and lowered her voice "Both of you can go in."

"Thank you."

My brother didn't have to say it, yet he said it to ease Yamada-san's pride which he had just hurt. She wasn't used to being disobeyed, and in her eyes, Zero was like a little grandson. I knew she was disappointed and offended by his action. We walked into a large room where was designated as a living room, our father stayed here most of the time when he's home as it looked out a beautiful bamboo garden which he could never got tired of looking at. The floor is covered with straw mats in our traditional style, and the sliding doors were made of wood and paper which were painted on either side in ink and light color. Those paintings had been done by the great painter Kose Kanaoke since the ninth century. They were the few of his works which were still survived nowadays. Time seemed to stay still forever in this place, a hundred years ago it was such ambiance, and a hundred years later, it would be still similar.

Zero took a quick look at our parents, who were sitting on the square floor cushions at a low oak table placed in the middle of the room. There were two other cushions on the opposite side, yet he stopped from a distance and knelt down. Father looked serious, but mother looked worried. We hadn't seen each other for a whole year, unluckily, because of his 'wrongdoing', the delight of our gathering turned into displeasure.

"Otou-san, Okaa-san!" My brother bowed his head deeply. Kaname also knelt down beside him.

"It's alright for Zero to do so. But we won't receive your bow, Kuran! Aren't we the same age? You're even older than my wife." Our father stopped him when he was about to make a reverent greeting gesture. Right in his first sentence, he had shown firm objection toward their relationship.

Before the pureblood opened his mouth, my brother replied on his behalf. "Kaname is my lover. I wanted to bring him home to see you."

Our mother anxiously glanced at our father after hearing those bold words, but his countenance remained calm as if he had been prepared for this meeting, certainly Yamada-san had reported to them what was going on since we came back.

"How far have you gone in this affair? Have you slept with him?"His question was quite blunt.

"I haven't."

It was like father, like son, they could talk about this issue straightforwardly and calmly as though there was nobody else in the room. Of course our father was concerned about it, to decide whether he would punish Zero or whether the arranged marriage could still proceed. A sigh of relief came out from our mother, she flashed a brief smile "We have chosen a good day for your wedding, Zero! It's time to meet your fiance. She is a daughter of Takamiya-san, Aimi Takamiya, nineteen years old, she is also studying medicine."

"Kaname wants to be with me." Zero turned their attention to the guest we were having, who was beside him, silently following their conversation. Maybe his presence had never been ignored completely as now, and the people around him were talking about his lover's marriage as if he didn't exist. My brother had neither said he loved him or wanted to share his life with him, as his words to our parents, Kaname wanted to be with him, not vice versa. After all the pureblood was an outsider, and our parents didn't think he was a big problem anymore, since Zero confirmed they hadn't slept with each other.

"I didn't expect to see you at my home, as my son's lover, Kuran!" Our father smirked. He had been very angry on the phone, however, he seemed much calmer in person. "Did you ever tell Zero we knew each other, or my wife used to doubt your feelings for me? Even Ichijou, your boyfriend, felt it was weird."

"No, I have never liked you romantically, Kiryuu-san!" Kaname opposed.

"I'm not interested in finding it out, before or now. But I remember telling you to stay away from me." Our father said coldly, then turn to our mother "Didn't you use to ask if Kuran liked me?"

"Actually..." She stuttered.

"I just asked you..." Our father lowered his voice "... yes or no."

"Yes."

Zero managed to stay emotionless, but nobody could really be unaffected to hear such thing. It sounded like he had been cheated. Last year he accepted to be the pureblood's new boyfriend to help him get over his broken love. He wanted to help him rebalance his life, but deep inside he never believed they could become a real couple. We were isolated from the outside world by our customs and traditions. My brother didn't want to grow any feeling for any girl because he knew he couldn't marry the person of his own choice. Talking about relationship and marriage to us meant talking about life and death. Love wasn't the element, but our rigorous customs were what tied the married couple forever. Modern people found it unacceptable. And Kaname, he had got over his thirty year relationship with Ichijou and fallen for Zero within six months, this fact shaded all the efforts he had tried to win my brother's heart. If it wasn't the only reason, then it was the main reason why Zero had brought him home, I supposed he wanted to show Kaname their chance to be together was impossible, and the pureblood would retreat after finding it difficult.

But now he learned that his lover used to like our father. Didn't it make him an inadequate substitute if it didn't make Kaname an impudent jerk? Of course we knew our father had been sent to Hokkaido for training at the HA headquarters, hence, also completed his study there. I assumed he and the pureblood knew each other, and that's probably why Zero didn't tell our father immediately on the phone who his lover was, but I couldn't imagine something like 'Kaname had feelings for our father and made our mother jealous'. It worsened his image in my brother's view as he had always believed the pureblood was truly and deeply in love with Ichijou.

"I don't need to bring our customs to disapprove this relationship. Even as a normal family, I will not accept someone like you to pursue my son." Our father said "New Year's day is coming, I don't want to keep an outsider in my family. Please pack up and leave tomorrow morning."

I wouldn't say about the gloomy look on our mother's face or the triumphant look on Yamada-san's, I even wouldn't say about my brother's expression, because it was hard to describe it. His face didn't show any emotions, it turned blank as though nothing mattered in this moment. I guessed he would feel sad if things turned out the way he expected, Kaname left after being rejected and offended by our family. But reality was simpler, now I understood why our father was calmer than on the phone. When he knew it was Kaname, he knew exactly how to separate them. No need to mention a word about our customs, he just revealed an ugly fact in the pureblood's personality. It hurt Zero, because at the end he realised he didn't understand his lover as he thought. The Kaname Kuran in his imagination wasn't only a great doctor, my brother believed he was also a faithful lover, who treasured love more than anything else. So he's afraid the pureblood would destroy his life after breaking up with Ichijou, and decided to step in to comfort him. Ironically, it's just his imagination. Kaname hadn't loved his boyfriend that much, he even dreamed of another man while still being together with him. So what Zero had done for him, and all his feelings, respect, admiration and compassion, were shattered in one instant. He simply nodded when our father suggested arranging a meeting with uncle Takamiya's family tomorrow morning. They quickly finished the meeting, and he walked out as a defeated, head down, both arms loosely by his sides.

"Zero, don't be late for dinner. Everyone is waiting to see you." Our mother stuttered gently after his back. She must want to talk more to him, to ask him in details, to comfort him. Nevertheless, it was the first time he had a lover and brought his lover home. Our mother had never fallen in love before getting married to our father, and I believed two of us were her great love in this life. I had hurt her terribly, Zero was now her only hope, her only meaning for living. Yet she couldn't talk much in front of our father, I really hoped my brother would come to see her alone after calming himself down.

ZxK

We returned to the small room, where Yamada-san had arranged for Kaname, and sat down together at a light yellow pine table, these hard cushions were wrapped in worn-out, faded covers, even though the sliding door was shut up, it's quite easy if somebody wanted to overhear us.

"You can leave right now. I will help you rent a hotel room until Seiren comes to pick you up." My brother offered, knowing the jet had taken off after they arrived.

"I didn't like Kiryuu-san in a romantic way." Kaname looked very pale and he trembled lightly, though the weather was much warmer here. He wanted to hold my brother's hand, but stopped in the middle of his act, just using his entreating look to beseech him.

"Are you saying my parents lied to me?" Zero glared at him, trying to control his composure. He had never shouted in anger, never lost his temper no matter how he was feeling. But if you were close to him, you could still say whether he was happy or upset, just wasn't sure the intensity of his emotion. I somehow got it as a bitter sarcasm. Now he was all angry and dangerous, but he needed to be comforted more than ever.

"No... They..." Kaname uttered "... misunderstood..."

"Then what did you do to make them misunderstand your intentions?" Zero challenged. It's the kind of feeling when you found out the person you have a liking for was totally opposite to what you had imagined. Some people would want to have a friend to listen to their ramblings, to give them a big hug, to say everything would be fine, but some other people preferred to be alone and struggle to soothe their emotions on their own. My brother didn't share his problems with anyone, even to Kaname, he had never told his lover what he was concerning about. The other day, the pureblood suggested him taking his two-year internship at Kuran General Hospital, instead of returning to his home town and started in the hospital where he would work for. His training period had finished, both of them knew he would have to leave sooner or later. The Kiryuus were attached to Okinawa, just as the Kurans to Hokkaido. They knew they couldn't be together. Yet Zero seemed to have agreed with his lover's suggestion to stay for two more years, I had wondered if he didn't want to leave Kaname yet or didn't want to get married early since he had used to being a solitude loner.

"I wanted to... see you." The pureblood murmured, and earned a confusing look from my brother. What he said was just difficult to comprehend.

Their intensity was ruined as the black smartphone on the table made a vibrating sound, and the sentence "Takuma Ichijou is calling..." appeared on its big screen. I didn't blame Kaname for keeping his ex-boyfriend's number, as they surely still maintained other relations after love. The Ichijous were the Kurans' loyal followers for generations, and they might have some business connections which related to each other, though I had never seen Ichijou call him when Zero was around in the past year.

Kaname didn't intend to pick it up. It rang out, and the next attempt from the noble came immediately. They still kept in touch. It wasn't a problem, yet it's not good-timing to be reminded in this moment. Zero had grown up into a man, but his years were like a blank page, he had experienced nothing, except training and studying. On the contrary, there was an unconfirmed rumor that Kaname had lost his virginity to his uncle, Rido Kuran, and everyone was used to seeing him with Ichijou since they were kids, as Asato Ichijou took them to all events he attended. There were many things about the pureblood which my brother didn't know. Speaking of blindness, their table had been turned, Zero was actually the one who nurtured his feelings based on his sole imagination.

The phone continued vibrating as Ichijou's third attempt followed the previous ones. My brother stood up "Answer it!"

"Zero! Please..." Kaname hastily grabbed his wrist "... stay!"

He didn't want to talk to his ex boyfriend behind my brother's back, probably afraid it would worsen his hard feeling. I didn't think he was cheating on Zero, just the way he loved and appreciated love were different than our morality required. My brother finally couldn't reject him. After he settled down, the pureblood pressed "Answer" and "Speaker" to share his conversation with him.

"Hai."

"Kaname, where are you now?" The other side seemed to be in a great hurry.

"I'm not in Hokkaido." The pureblood said evenly.

"I know. I've tried all means to seek for you. Where are you now?"

Kaname glanced at my brother, and asked with caution "What is the problem... Ichijou?"

He deliberately called his family name to remind him of their current situation. They were no longer lovers, he didn't have to tell him where he was. It seemed to make him see some reason, Ichijou paused a second and slow down "I'm sorry. But Tsubasa needs an emergency heart surgery. We are in Naha, Okinawa, he suddenly got a heart attack. I... I... Please Kaname, I only trust you. Can you come right now? I beg you... Tsubasa can't wait, I... need him... I would have never contacted you if there's another way. Kaname... "

I had never heard of that name, but he must be an important person to Ichijou, and a human, because a vampire wouldn't have a serious health problem. So it was the reason why he was looking for Kaname urgently. Of course the pureblood could use his power to come in an instant from wherever he was. However, he was coincidentally in Naha, and his powers had coincidentally been blocked by the hunter bracelet. He looked at my brother for permission. Wanting to operate on his ex-boyfriend's new lover, yet he would do it if only Zero allowed it.

My brother never rejected any chance to save a life. Understood the emergency, he quickly gave a light nod, and Kaname answered to Ichijou "I'll be there."

ZxK

The family waiting area before the operation room was empty, except two men sitting on a long bench. One was resting his head on his hands, tired from waiting and anxiety. It had been six hours since the operation started and the light of the signage box seemed to be bright forever. The other was leaning straightly on his grey backrest, also waiting, yet unsure what he was waiting for. This time, he was the person who accompanied Kaname, and was staying outside while the other worked. This role used to belong to Ichijou. After finishing the phone call, the pureblood got changed, and he drove him to the hospital where this operation had got ready. Then he met Ichijou, and both of them sat down to wait for their lovers.

I didn't know if it was appropriate to call Kaname my brother's lover, Zero didn't want anybody to find out about their relationship, and the pureblood still said he was alone in the past year, but he would call or email him every other day, and tried to arrange a meeting on the weekends, most of the time just for a dinner, sometimes would be at his house, where they were completely in private, the pureblood's face apparently sparkled with joy, though all they did was speak to each other. Sometimes I thought he was the only one who could stand my brother's indifferent trait. If they loved each other, I wouldn't oppose it. But was it love?

"Is Kaname happy?"

Zero was startled with such sudden question and glanced at Ichijou. The noble smiled "You are a copy of your father, Zero-kun, very handsome! I'm not surprised to see Kaname with you."

"What do you mean?" My brother successfully controlled his emotions, but his voice had turned harsh, probably because he hadn't spoken for hours.

"Have you heard about The Fated Lover? When an infant meets his fated lover, he will get overexcited." Ichijou might feel bored from waiting and wanted to entertain themselves with some legend "I see Kaname hasn't told you. You can't say it's nonsense, and babies less than one year old just stare at everyone around them. How many people on this world have met their fated lover when they're in the cradle? You know, many of them never have a chance to meet their true other half all their life, that's why there are so many break-ups, so many divorces, and even those who stayed married till their last breath, they're not truly happy."

My brother had changed his look back to his front, ignoring the noble's rambling, yet Ichijou continued with a soft smile "Babies have a sixth sense, they can realise their fated lover and get excited when that person is around. Unfortunately, we can't realise them anymore after the first year, and life will bring us a lot of wrong ones. We vampires have a wish to be tied with our true other half, so when a baby was born, many single vampires will come to visit and see if the baby is our fate." Ichijou looked vaguely further as if recalling a pleasant memory "Tsubasa is my fated lover. He reached his tiny hands toward me when I first met him. Only staying by his side made me feel true happiness."

"Then why did you choose Kaname?"

"Kaname was already my lover at that time. My grandfather let us stay in the same room, so we started at a very early age." Ichijou corrected my brother, and suddenly covered his mouth "Oops, sorry! I shouldn't say those details to you. But you don't have to worry. You are Kaname's fate. He's instinctively drawn to you. When Kiryuu-san was studying in Hokkaido, he and I used to be friends. Once his wife brought the newborn twins to visit him, and he wanted to show them off with us. I remember you and your little brother were six months or so, as soon as you entered the room, you immediately got noisy and insisted Kaname to hold you. Chairman Cross took a photo of you having a big smile in his embrace. Have you seen it?"

Zero didn't have any comments, and Ichijou didn't care about his reaction "Kiryuu-san got bothered as Kaname came almost every day to meet you. Then he learned that Kaname liked men and assumed he himself was the target, so he banned him to step in his place and even ended our friendship when he found out about our relationship. But chairman Cross still sent your photos and video clips to Kaname all those years. I'm really not surprised to see you with him now."

"If both of you had found your fates, then why did you still stay together? Should I be happy because if I wasn't his, and his fate just showed up right here, right now, then he would throw me away to follow him," Zero kept a soft voice, yet sarcastic "... or still stay with me for twenty years until that person grew up."

I was wondering exactly the same thing. It's too pathetic, my brother and I were too pathetic to feel bad for Kaname and drowned in his mess. Twenty five years ago he had met Zero and known they were fated. If truly appreciated this meaning and wanted to be with him, the pureblood should have got ready for him since. Earlier I was touched to hear he usually clean himself up before seeing my brother and thought it was an act of sincere love and respect. But no, in twenty five years since he knew Zero was his fate, he still slept with Ichijou. They only separated when their fates had grown up. And what was the meaning of his submission and obedience? What if Zero wasn't his fate, would he still want to be with him?

"I owe Kaname." Ichijou sensed my brother's irritation "but I can't make up for him. I hope he will be happy. He deserves happiness."

Familiar words, sounded so nice, easy for you to win everybody's sympathy without an actual action. He was now together with Tsubasa, his fate, and needed Kaname to cure him, then what kind words would he not be willing to talk about the pureblood? At least it's now clear that Kaname was honest to say he had never liked our father romantically, and I understood what he meant by saying he wanted to see Zero. He came over everyday to be with my brother and got our parents misunderstand his intentions. The noble's strange tale failed to entertain them, they sank in silence until the signage light finally blew out.

Ichijou quickly stood up, running to his lover's bed which was moving out and following them to the recovery room. Kaname was the last person walking out in his blue surgery uniform, looking quite pale. "Zero!" He whispered and rushed to my brother as not seeing his intent to go to him. Not bothering if anyone would see them, he fell into his chest "Take me back!" With it he passed out. Zero had to hold his body to keep him from falling down.

ZxK

My brother had reached his limit. Maybe the invisible bond of fate explained why he had accepted an ambiguous relationship with Kaname, why he had highly admired him and wanted to be close to him. Yet they hadn't a happy ending, because our customs didn't allow them to be together, and from the bottom of his heart, Zero painfully realised the pureblood wasn't a great person as he imagined. Sometimes we couldn't help feeling very bad when someone beautiful, talented, someone we respected, we looked up to, turned out to be a not-so-good person in their personal life. Or perhaps it's simply a culture difference. I couldn't blame Kaname if Rido Kuran was really his first man, or he had slept with Ichijou in his early teenage. It must be an arrangement by Asato Ichijou to win more influence in the vampire society. And it was just his instinct to feel an urge to be with my brother and submit to him. Unfortunately, for a person who had been taught to appreciate loyalty, faithfulness, virginhood and purity, Zero could hardly accept him.

Nevertheless, he had brought him here, he had to take responsibility until Kaname safely returned to Hokkaido. A doctor who was also a vampire, helped to arrange a room and blood transfusion for the worn-out pureblood. It could be done orally, but the doctor checked and informed that Kaname was having problem with swallowing, and in this hospital, it's better to do a normal blood transfusion. It was almost eleven pm, after a long day with lots of pressures and no food, anyone could be exhausted, however, both of them saw symptoms that Kaname had been poisoned. His left wrist was bandaged tightly, my brother knew it was where the hunter bracelet was. He carefully undressed it, and they were shocked to see what exactly had been put on. A thin chain of twenty silver roses with thorns. It wasn't the type which hunters wore to their prisoners in the old times as he thought. This bracelet was specially used for vampires under torture and wasn't expected to be on longer than an hour. Zero hadn't looked at them when Yamada-san put it on the pureblood, and Kaname had silently suffered it for ten hours. Now the bracelet was wrapping around his blackened bones, flesh on his wrist had been burnt and vanished. That's why he had to bandage it up. It must be very painful right in the first moment and he could guess how it would damage his body, yet he didn't say a word. He had asked for my brother's opinion when Yamada-san required him to wear it. I remembered Zero didn't say anything, expecting Kaname to refuse and leave. The pureblood got it that he had to depart if not accepting her request, so he chose to go along.

"Do you want to kill Kuran-sama?" The vampire doctor ground his teeth.

My brother ignored him, and took the bracelet off, gently put his wounded arm along his side. Kaname was still unconscious, closed eyes, chapped lips, completely trusting his life in his lover's hands. Before passing out, he asked Zero to take him back, not removing the bracelet or giving him blood, which were what he urgently needed to be recovered. He wanted to be with him. Perhaps his only worry was Zero would leave him after hearing he liked our father. I didn't know how far the pureblood would be willing to go for my brother, and why did he have to do it? It's not like one couldn't not be with their fated lover, one could choose to be with anybody he wanted, sooner or later I believed Kaname would have to accept that he had no chance with my brother.

ZxK

Zero had missed our family dinner for Kaname, but he couldn't be absent in the meeting with uncle Takamiya's family. After a sleepless night, he returned home alone, showered and got changed. He appeared with a colorless face and temperate gestures. The fathers were face to face, aunt Takamiya and her daughter sat on one side, our mother was on the other side. My brother swiftly settled next to her and bowed to greet our special guests "Oji-san, Oba-san, Aimi onee-chan! How are you?"

"Zero-kun, we haven't met for a long time. You've grown up!" Uncle Takamiya smiled openly "I heard you achieved the supreme level. Nobody has ever got it as young as you are."

Our father and uncle Takamiya were childhood friends, both of them had been trained by the same mentor, but their results were quite different. Uncle Takamiya still wasn't qualified to be a senior hunter, though he had tried his best. In his young age, he had done nothing else, but training, however, his hard work didn't reward him much. He earned a monthly salary as a member of the Hunter Branch of Okinawa, where our father was the Chief, it was also the only income in their family, so they had always been careful in spending their limited budget. Luckily, his son, Kaito Takamiya was smarter and currently working at the HA in Hokkaido, while Aimi stayed with them at home.

"Thank you for your compliment! I still have to learn a lot." Zero answered politely.

"We are thankful that you still want to keep the engagement between our children." Aunt Takamiya said humbly. This arrangement had been settled since Aimi was born and my brother was six, based on the good friendship between the two families, despite of our social statuses.

"Actually we are fortunate to have Aimi as our daughter-in-law." Our mother smiled, looking at her son's future wife contentedly.

"We are pleased to hear you studying medicine. It will take a long time. Please don't be offended, we would like to sponsor for your study." Our father offered.

It took six or seven years at school, two years for internship and more years until you can make money as a doctor, while it cost eight million yen per year for tuition fee, no kidding. I wouldn't say it's a career for rich people, but not easy to follow if your family were poor. Kaito worked at Cross Academy, with two incomes as a teacher and a hunter, he could support himself quite well and help his family a little, however, it would be a burden if Aimi didn't work for the next ten years and aunt Takamiya's health wasn't really good. Our father had always tried to help them, but now with the marriage, he had a good reason to help his old friend's family to resolve their financial problems.

"Thank you for your kindness. We knew we couldn't afford to let Aimi go to medical school." Aunt Takamiya said honestly "There is a benefactor who has sponsored her study since high school."

"Oh, who is that kind person?" Our father asked curiously.

"He doesn't want to tell anyone, but I don't hide it in my family." Aimi replied "It's uncle Kuran in Hokkaido."

It was like a thunder over our ears. My brother's eyes glowed "Kaname Kuran?"

"Yes. I hope it is alright. We have been in a peace treaty, uncle Kuran is a very kind person." Aimi still didn't get what was going on in our minds. If she was a guy, with what had been revealed since yesterday, I wouldn't be amazed to hear Kaname pursuing a young boy. However, Aimi was a girl, then what was his purpose?

"How did you know him?" Our father asked.

"I met him when I was in Hokkaido for a summer training four years ago. We met at uncle Cross's house, he introduced me to uncle Kuran as... Zero's fiance." Aimi shyly lowered her reddening face "Uncle Kuran said Zero was studying medicine. We would be closer and understand each other easier if I also became a doctor. He promised to pay for my school fees, with the only condition was I would try my best to study and be a good wife for Zero in the future."

While everybody was perplexed, something dawned in my mind. Twenty five years ago, Kaname realised my brother was his fated lover, yet he had already been in a relationship with Ichijou. I blamed him for not leaving the noble if wanting to be with Zero, but what if he didn't originally want to be with my brother, in other words, he didn't plan to leave Ichijou? He came to meet Zero until our father banned him, he followed his development through the photos and video clips uncle Cross recorded, yet he never approached him since my brother relocated to Hokkaido ten years ago. He was reluctant in their first meeting, and it was Zero, who initiatively pursued him. If putting things together, it's obvious that Kaname didn't see his relationship with Ichijou would be broken up, he even wanted to get to know Aimi and assist her to become a good match for my brother. All those years, he had chosen to pass his fate to maintain his present love. Maybe he couldn't ignore Zero after knowing him, but Kaname wasn't the type as my brother said earlier, he wasn't sleeping with another person while waiting for his fate to grow up. He slept with Ichijou because in those years he loved him.

"Do you know about... his personal life?" Zero suddenly asked.

"You mean... I know uncle Kuran is homosexual. But I know nothing more than that." Aimi said.

"Does he still pay your school fees?" My brother continued.

Of course he wanted to get more details. Last year Kaname had asked him to be his boyfriend. Although what the pureblood had done to Aimi came from a good intention, it became meaningless since he fell for Zero. Now Kaname surely didn't want them to get married, then what about his arrangement with her?

"Yes. He usually pays for the full year at once. He has paid this year for me last month." Aimi answered him smoothly, then turned to our parents "Oji-san, Oba-san, I have a petition. Could you please approve it?"

"Aimi?" Uncle Takamiya was stunned.

But she neglected his surprise "I would like to postpone our wedding until I graduate."

"Aimi, what are you saying?" Her parents were shocked. Our mother also couldn't believe in her ear.

It's only our father was calm. "Is it... Kuran's condition?"

"No. It's my own thinking. I want to study in Hokkaido and take care of my brother." Aimi said clearly "I'm afraid of not being able to fulfil my role as a wife and a mother while I'm still in school."

It was true. Many women had to have their education unfinished forever if getting married early. Our mother had had to delay her study to get married and have children. Aimi's reason sounded rational, however, it's hard to accept when Kaname was involved.

"You don't have to worry. As I said, I will sponsor your study." Our father repeated "You don't have to do what that vampire asks."

"It's really my own thinking. I'm just nineteen years old, I don't know how to make Zero-san happy." Aimi was gentle, yet she had already made up her mind.

"Shut up!" Her father was furious "Apologise to uncle Kiryuu!"

Uncle Takamiya was about to beat her right in front of us, Zero rapidly pulled her back and ran with her out of the room. We still heard noise behind, but it would be fine soon if they thought this chance was a good idea for them to get to know each other.

My brother brought Aimi to a bench in our garden and let her sob in silence. It seemed modern world was destroying our traditions. Zero took a lover home, and now Aimi suggested delaying their wedding. Those thoughts could never occur in our previous generations. At our time, we wanted willingness and volunteering. As far as I understood my brother, he wouldn't surrender to fate, however, he wouldn't violate our traditions, unless there was someone who deserved for him to do it. He hadn't thought it was Kaname, because he didn't believe the pureblood truly loved him. Taking him back home, he was prepared to see him go. However, I wondered if in the deepest corner of his heart, he ever hoped for a slight possibility that Kaname would stay till the end, and what would he do in such circumstance? It was a challenging journey for both of them, and many things were unexpectedly revealed which led our presumption change from one end to the other.

"Is it really not... Kuran's condition?"

"No. He doesn't like me or anything." Aimi shook her head "He knew I would marry you when I was twenty. But I'm not ready for it. I feel scared to take the big responsibility. I thought your parents would be more understanding."

On the contrary, our father was less understanding! I really felt worried for Aimi if uncle Takamiya considered her a disgrace. With her character, she wouldn't comply with our rigorous customs, hence, wouldn't be accepted into our family. Again the image of our great aunt being put in her coffin with swollen eyes flashed in my mind, and I remembered the pureblood's words "I love you, Zero! I'm willing to comply with all of your family traditions. If you want me in your next life, I will follow you to the Hades."

- to be continued -

Posted: 3 Feb 2013

Could you let me know what you think about this chapter?